On Oct. 21, student production group VegSOUP ran a series of short plays in a program titled The Empty Space.
The plays, directed, managed, designed and written by students included: sophomore Emily Cirincione's "Biggest Mistake" and "I Will Never Love You," senior Jake Roa's "Baggage," senior Samuel Plotkin's "Hope and Faith" and sophomore Kate Royal's "Other Women."
The first performance, "Biggest Mistake," was directed by senior Nicole Carson and explored the relationship of a hit man and his wife. The short piece, starring Nicholas Toscano '09 and junior Kristina Tortoriello, culminated in a thrilling but hastily-developed plot twist. Cirincione's other play, "I Will Never Love You," starred sophomores Shannon Dennehy and Travis Kessel and had blatant audience appeal, utilizing the one-night stand as a foundation for humorous writing and natural chemistry. Dennehy's character Rita was genuine and hilarious.
One of the lengthier pieces, "Baggage," was directed by senior Alyson Ellis and acted by Kessel, sophomore Paul Nardone, freshman Emily Withers and senior Liz Cho. The piece combined some all-too-obvious concepts with subtle symbolism. Whether the fault lay in the conceptualization or somewhere in the production wasn't evident, but some stereotyping and a lack of character development were present in the piece.
Although the characters of "Baggage" were foil archetypes of each other, there was an interesting Eastern versus Western idea present in the relationship between the two male characters. Kessel, who was afforded some scenes to reveal the internal mindset of his character, Cam, excelled in the piece along with his counterpart, Nardone, who brought some much-needed light-heartedness and a full commitment to Ceasar, Cam's pessimistic internal voice.
"Hope and Faith," directed by Plotkin and acted by senior Sean Fortune, sophomores David Keyes and Melyssa Hall and freshman Ariel Rodrick, took the audience out of the living rooms they were stationed in for the other four plays of The Empty Space. Though the play itself involved heavy-handed symbolism about the end of humanity and a complicated back story that was never made completely clear, "Hope and Faith" did have an interesting theoretical perspective and was undeniably intellectually provocative.
"Hope and Faith," more than any of the other pieces, used the technical aspects of theatre to their greatest advantages, employing everything from a broken television to surround and layered sound effects. Keyes triumphed as the last human on earth, excellently capturing the innocence of a 10-year-old boy.
"Other Women," written and directed by Royal, was impeccable. Anne, played by senior Britt Faulkner, and Sonia, played by Cirincione, seemed perfectly comfortable in their psychological instability. The play addressed a range of issues including infidelity, abortion and domesticity. It was sincerely emotional. The writing was developed, the plot and back story were revealed in a timely manner and Anne's crying about her predicament in the final scene was uncontrived and invasive.
Undoubtedly successful, The Empty Room concluded with a standing ovation from an audience who was actively engaged throughout.